Who is really qualified to teach?

Who is really qualified to teach?

Dear Ajarn, I am emailing in reply to the many letters that have appeared recently regarding mainly those qualified to teach English. It is true I believe that the Thai government is trying to tighten up on qualifications and the type of person that ends up teaching in their schools. It is sadly still true however, that a significant number of people are still teaching in schools that really shouldn't be, and I comment on that from the point of view that they don't know their grammar and are not really capable of stringing two sentences together.

Yes, someone may have a degree but what does that tell you? Are they going to be a good teacher, in most cases probably, they will want to do their best. Sadly in quite a large number of cases you can have someone with a degree who is not going to be a good teacher and someone else without a degree who is a very good teacher, but they will lose out as they don't have the coveted piece of paper.

A friend of mine works at a school and is head of English, he doesn't have a degree and neither have a lot of the teachers there. The school is quite happy even though a tad illegal but at the end of the day, the students are getting a good education from teachers who know their subject.

The same colleague recently dismissed two teachers. Unfortunately students asked them a specific grammar question and they had to say they didn't know, it came to pass that they didn't know a lot about grammar. I suspect that you will all say "well that serves them right for employing teachers without degrees and knowledge" it did serve them right but these two teachers had degrees in English too. So what does this tell you, a piece of paper doesn't necessarily make you a good teacher you need that special quality.

A lot of people also have a dig at Filipinos who in the main can be good teachers but also some cannot. I recently spent some time in an international school where parents were paying nearly 500,000 baht a year to have their children taught English. The one Filipino teacher couldn't string a sentence together correctly and the information signs up in the classroom were so bad I nearly fainted. On the other hand, two classrooms down a Filipino with 20 years teaching under her belt was doing a very good job.

I think what I am trying to say is there should be some common sense attached to the employment of teachers. To all you sex tourists, perverts and other undesirables who trawl the teaching profession here for a salary to fuel your degenerate and pathetic lifestyle here, I hope all is done to rid you from this country and spare the children from your filth and depravity.

To everyone else who works here illegally and legally I hope you continue to give the students a good grounding in English and lets hope that some common sense prevails. Please let teaching be about the quality of the teacher and not the quality of the paperwork. I know this will annoy a lot of teachers with degrees that have the short-sighted view that anyone without a degree cannot be a teacher, I hope those will take a good look around them and see that actually a degree does not automatically make you a good teacher. Best wishes, Jonathon

Jonathan French


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